Tag Archives: #SayHerName

Stop Killing Trans Women!!!

Mic Drop

LA Rally 5

Protesters march in a rally in Los Angeles August 18th

August isn’t even over yet and already this month five trans people’s bodies have been found in the USA, meaning that in eight months of 2015 we’ve already surpassed the total number of trans women killed in 2014. This year across the United States 20 trans women (most of them women of color) have been murdered. Twenty?!

T.W.E.N.T.Y.

Despite making up less than one percent of the world’s total population a transgender person is killed every 29 hours. Trans people are so much in danger that an academic Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) project exists to analyze reports of transgender homicides around the globe. For those of you who are good with numbers The National Center for Transgender Equality spells it out for you: “The national homicide rate is 4.7 per 100,000—yet at a little more than halfway through the year, we have seen at least [20] killings among an estimated 350,000 adult trans women, almost all of them among trans women of color, who probably number fewer than 135,000.”

Poor reporting, hateful misgendering and laws that are slow to catch up with reality all contribute to the fact that current headlines read “At Least 17 Transgender Women Have Been Murdered This Year” despite many outlets accurately quoting #BlackLivesMatter and #TransLivesMatter leaders that the trans community is in “a state of emergency.” In addition to those two hashtags you can also raise awareness of the staggering discrimination and violence against trans women with #SayHerName and #NiUnaMenos. Originally published in 2005 this list gives you one thing a week you could do for transgender equality.

Activists speak at a rally in Los Angeles on August 18th

              Activists speak at a rally in Los Angeles on August 18th

Right now, Dear Reader, you’re going to mourn with me the lives of women cut short this year by hate and transmisogyny.

Papi Edwards – age 20, killed 9 January 2015 in Louisville, KentuckyPapi Edwards

Lamia Beard – age 30, killed 17 January 2015 in Norfolk, VirginiaLamia Beard

Ty Underwood – age 24, killed 26 January 2015 in Tyler, Texas Ty Underwood

Yazmin Vash Payne – age 33, killed 31 January 2015 in Van Nuys, California Yazmin Vash Payne

Taja DeJesus – age 36, killed 1 February 2015 in San Francisco, California Taja DeJesus

Penny Proud – age 21, killed 10 February 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana Penny Proud

Bri* Golec – age 22, killed 13 February 2015 in Akron, Ohio Bri Golec *Golec was identified by a bandmate as someone who hated labels and went by Brian in the last year of their life

Kristina Gomez Reinwald – age 46, killed 15 February 2015 in Miami, Florida Kristina Gomez-Reinwald

Sumaya Ysl – age 26, discovered 22 February 2015 in Toronto, Canadasumaya-dalmar

Keyshia Blige – age 33, killed 7 March 2015 in Aurora, Colorado Keyshia Blige

Vanessa Santillan – age 33, killed 28 March 2015 in London, UKVanessa Santillan

Mya Hall – age 27, killed 30 March 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland Mya Hall

London Chanel – age 21, killed 18 May 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Chanel London

Mercedes Williamson – age 17, discovered 2 June 2015 in George County, Mississippi  Mercedes Williamson

India Clarke – age 25, discovered 21 July 2015 in Tampa, Florida India-Clarke

KC Haggard – age 66, killed 23 July 2015 in Fresno, California KC Haggard

Shade Schuler – age 22, discovered 29 July 2015 in Dallas, Texas Shade Schuler

Amber Monroe – age 20, killed 8 August 2015 in Detroit, Michigan AmberMonroe

Kandis Capri – age 35, killed 11 August 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona Kandis Capri

Elisha Walker – age 20, discovered 15 August 2015 in Johnston County, North Carolina Elisha Walker

Tamara Dominguez – age 36, killed 15 August 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri Tamara Dominguez

Two heartbreaking trends emerge when you look at these women side-by-side: 1. Over 85% of these women died before age 40–the youngest was only 17. 2. At least 80% of these women were women of color–more than two-thirds of them were Black. #BlackTransLivesMatter say it with me! We cannot keep silent about these atrocities. Trans women of color live at the intersection of transphobia, misogyny, racism and classism and as we’ve seen that is often a deadly combination. Sign this petition demanding the federal government investigate the murders of trans women as hate crimes. Activists in Los Angeles took to the streets on August 18 to rally and march against violence against the trans community. We must do the same. Trans people are everywhere and they deserve our support and compassion. They deserve full equality. They deserve to live.

LA Rally

LA Rally 2

La Rally 3

LA Rally 4

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Rest in Power Sisters

 

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Black Lives Matter: Reflections on the Death of Sandra Bland

Get ready to get uncomfortable.Sandra Bland Kimberlee Randle King

One of the biggest privileges of having white skin is believing, knowing, that if you call the police they will feel more inclined to “protect and serve” you than not. The same is true of doctors–if the medical industry has a history of lying and using your people as guinea pigs, it would understandably be difficult to trust white coats. Of course media portrayals, general corruption, class, rural vs. urban, previous incarceration history, dis/enfranchisement and gender affect how everyone interacts with the police, but for white people as a whole the police are not a threat. On the contrary even when there is evidence that white people are breaking laws Black people are still the ones treated like suspects. #BlackLivesMatter but think about how many drunk/irate white men brandishing guns have been taken peacefully into police custody, compared to the number of unarmed Black people killed while behaving lawfully.

The Real Race WarThis piece explores how the justice system views Black women, here five Black women share their experiences with the police, read 60 more Black women’s stories here, listen to this spoken word piece about being a Black woman, here you can watch Black women speak out, and this is a good example of Black people’s realities. The disgusting truth of the matter is that any black person in America could have been Sandra Bland, and age, genderdisabilityinnocence or any combination of those don’t change that. The biggest lesson I’ve learned throughout the past year is that Black people rightly fear the police. Would more female police help???

copshooterWhite folks–we NEED to talk about our privilege and how our appropriation of other cultures is not only damaging but violentHere are just a few things you need to know before we move forward so please take a moment. You should also read this, this and this before going any further. Also, here’s what would happen if someone who doesn’t look like me got in a cop’s face, and here’s what kids will be learning about our country’s racist history in school. Speaking of school you should really check out these two truth bombs. And if you’re (somehow) still questioning why anti-racism efforts *must* be integrated into feminism read this. If you need more resources on learning about racism there are more than 30 there. Finally, here is what one woman of color wants white allies to know. What I need from you is to share these truths as far and wide as you can, #SayHerName and the names of all of the people killed by police violence, regardless of color.

Bree Newsome Tweet

On The Burning of Black ChurchesLast month we collectively mourned for the parishioners and families of the victims of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church assassination, but the burnings of Black churches around the nation have been the backdrop against which the taking of Black lives by the police has been set. And while superheroes like Bree Newsome are shining examples of the courage to which we all ought to aspire, the confederate flag still flies regularly in the face of people of color whose existence is challenged everyday merely for the color of their skin. There aren’t enough ways to explain how wrong all of this is. In the safety of my white skin I am shocked and saddened and appalled by my fellow man. Reading about the destruction of Black lives and Black souls all day, everyday is exhausting, but the torment I’m experiencing from bearing witness to these atrocious human rights violations is a sliver, a fraction of what Black people living in fear of being killed by the police or by any of the myriad other racist institutions in our country are forced to deal with throughout their lives. Since it is impossible for me to share the gravity and weight of their reality with them, to take on a just portion of their load, the absolute least I can do is bear witness to these truths, do my part to hold police accountable, and demand change.

Truth Bomb

While so much has been written since Sandra Bland was found dead, details have come forward about the deaths of many others in police custodySarah Lee Circle Bear, Kindra ChapmanRalkina JonesJoyce CurnellRaynetta Turner, Jonathan SandersRexdale Henry, Christina Tahhahwah and Sgt. James Brown to name a few. And while the US has an embarrassing maternal mortality rate pregnant women who are incarcerated face incredible obstacles whether they choose abortion or birth. Where is your outrage? Why aren’t we all taking to the streets everyday to demand a complete and total overhaul of the Injustice System as we know it?  The headline of this story speaks volumes.

“In 2012, the latest year for which federal data is available, 73.2% of inmates who died in jail for any reason had not been convicted of a crime.”

So what do we know about Sandra Bland and her death? She was driving through Texas on her way to a new job at Prairie View A&M when a squad car pulled an abrupt U-turn and sped up behind her. She yielded to the police who then pulled her over for “failure to signal a lane change.” She lawfully refused to put out her cigarette after the officer asked her to. She was ordered to step out of her car, with no reason given. She exerted her rights but Officer Encinia (who was cited last year for “unprofessional conduct”) threatened to forcibly remove her. She said she was going to call her lawyer. Encinia told her he was going to “yank” her out of her car, reached in, and called for backup. Sandra Bland continued to assert her rights and question what reasoning he had for removing her from her car. Then he told her she was under arrest. He called for backup again, yelled at her to get out of the car and opened her door. He said, “I’m going to drag you out of here.”  He then threatened to “light her up” with a taser. She got out of her car. He yelled at her to get off the phone, but she clarified that she was recording the situation, again asserting her rights. She put her phone down and he ordered her to turn around and put her hands behind her back. He said she was under arrest for “failure to obey a lawful order.” She gave him sass he definitely deserved saying, “You know this is straight bullshit.” He tried to justify his actions, “If you would’ve just listened” and handcuffed her. She said, “Oh I can’t wait ’til we go to court. Ooh I can’t wait. I cannot wait ’til we go to court. I can’t wait. Oh I can’t wait!

The doctored dashcam video of her arrest continues for another 37 minutes and includes Bland being brutalized in a number of ways. You can read the transcript from it here. Bottom line: she should not have been arrested. After being taken to (racist) Waller County Jail, and trying to post bail, she was found dead three days later. The official cause of death was suicide, and marijuana was found in her system, but despite her history of depression and PTSD, a lot of things don’t add up. So much so, in fact, that Attorney General Lynch has spoken out and the FBI has joined the investigation. 28-year-old Sandra Bland was laid to rest on Saturday, July 25th, 2015.

Police Custody

So what can you do to combat racial injustice? Educate yourselfSign this petition to stop the prosecution of a Black woman trying to get a job so she can feed her children. Speak out against the mistreatment of trans* folks, especially in police and immigration custody. Support your local Planned Parenthood and Reproductive Justice efforts in your community. Remember the history of race and slavery in our country. Take all seven steps Black Girl Dangerous spells out for you. Show Up for Racial Justice. Follow conversations on racism on social media with hashtags like #BlackLivesMatter #SayHerName #SandySpeaks #WhatHappenedToSandraBland and #IfIDieInPoliceCustody. Be an ally to trans* folks. Support just struggles everywhere. Donate to the Sandra Bland Legal Fund. Whether Sandra Bland did commit suicide or was killed at the hands of someone else while in police custody is basically irrelevant at this point. She is dead and the entire criminal “justice” system is guilty. Rest In Power Sandy.


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